Before moving to SLO County, Ray and I lived in Downtown Los Angeles for over 6 years. We had the pleasure of living at The Brewery Artist Lofts, the largest art colony in the United States. A good portion of our time off was spent eating, drinking, and attending events. This habit/passion carried over to our life on the Central Coast. LA will always be one of the special places that will be close to my heart.
Here is my personal Downtown LA Food & Drink Guide. These are places I recommend and enjoy. To me THE BEST locations are the ones you actually visit more than once. Comment below with your favorite spots. We are always looking for cool places to try out.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES
$ – Affordable Eats
- The Heights Deli & Bottle Shop – Killer sandwiches! I can never choose! I also love their spaghetti and meatballs.
- El Hurarachito – My favorite chilaquiles spot! Order them with tortillas (made in house) – heads up sometimes they only speak Spanish when answering the phone for takeout. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t speak Spanish, they are very helpful, so be respectful.
- Won Kok – Honestly this spot is a family fav. It is totally hole in the wall. Service sucks but the bites are cheap and delicious. Get the baked BBQ pork bun, har gaw, sesame seed balls, and egg custard. We DO NOT go the restaurant, just the bakery. Whenever I eat at the restaurant I get insane heartburn to the point I get concerned I need to go to the ER.
- Quesadilla Cart – The best quesadillas I’ve ever had in my life. They are NOT like the ones you get at a restaurant. Tortillas are made on the spot! Cash only. It’s on Winston street near Al’s Pet Supplies. Get Nopales & Chicharron! Cash only.
- Howlin Rays – Legendary fried chicken sandwich! Lines are nuts but you can order Doordash and bypass everyone lol.
- Little Jewel of New Orleans – Yummy whole in the wall for Cajun food! It’s super heavy with lots of fried goodness. Come hungry. Great hangover food.
- Tea Master Matcha Cafe – THE BEST GREEN TEA MATCHA SOFT SERVE…I’ve EVER had in my life.
- Corn Man – Find in in the park in Lincoln Heights lol. He gets there at around 10p to 11p at night. I love elote in a cup – the cob is not my thing as I hate corn stuck in my teeth. Cash only.
- Avenue 26 Tacos – You’re not living life in LA without a street taco. My personal favorite is Al Pastor.
- Cafe Dulce – Sweet and delicious treats – Green Tea Donut & Mocha Roti are my favorites! Get the Green Tea Donut warm but be careful…it can sometimes be so hot the filling will burn the crap out of your tongue.
- Spitz – Street Mediterranean food – Soooo good, no frills, cheap eats.
- Pie Hole – Maple Custard Pie. That is all.
- Jacks N Joes – 76 Burrito & WTF Pancakes. Breakfast line is insanely long on weekends, get there early.
- Aloha Cafe – Portuguese breakfast. My favorite breakfast after a night out drinking.
- Beard Papas – I love their cream puffs! Get the cookie or the butter & sugar (my favorite). I keep it OG w/ vanilla filling.
- Smorgasburg – Open air food market. Sundays only from 10a to 4p at The Row! Free parking. Free entry. Fun if you want to try out new foods in the area. Visit Ensaymada Project if you’re having a sweet tooth- they sell Filipino brioche (cookie is my fav) – go home and warm for 10 seconds and consume.
- Taiyaki in Little Tokyo Mall – Outside the Daiso near the parking lot is a Taiyaki cart. I always get cheese Taiyaki. It’s portable grilled cheese when I’m on the go.
$$ – MODERATE
- Grand Central Market – When you have confused friends who can’t make up their mind. Pupusaria and McConnells Ice Cream are my favorites. Food is solid but to me it’s over priced and portions are small.
- Father’s Office – One of the best burgers in LA – no substitutions. The original location is in Culver City. Burger is definitely on the pricy side at $19. It doesn’t come with fries either. I love their shoestring fries and I use the aioli dipping sauce on my burger.
- Yang Chow – Solid Chinese food – pricier than other spots but they are famous for their Beijing Beef
- Langer’s Deli – Best Deli in LA. Get the #19 Pastrami Sandwich. Parking SUCKS in this area. I buy it for take out and they walk it over to my car so I can get out of there ASAP.
$$$ – PRICEY
I really don’t go to fancy restaurants anymore because they are a huge let down for me. Here are the very few that are worth the time and money IMO. Do not order any of these for takeout, you gotta eat inside the restaurant to get the full experience!
- Rossoblu – This whimsical spot is in the heart of Fashion District. Delicious Italian food, pizza, and killer cocktails. I get the Mr. Q – duck fat-washed IWAI 45 Japanese whiskey, five-spice Cocchi, pear syrup, and Sichuan bitters (Vegan option available – how LA)
- Bavel – Food is strait up on point. Be careful if you end up parking at the bridge, our car was super close to the restaurant but it was dark and someone broke into our car to steal a backpack we had in sight. The backpack didn’t have anything valuable buuuut fixing the window was a hassle.
??? – Food is WHATEVER but I go for vibes
- Manuela – Outdoor dining w/ art museum and community garden – great in the afternoon if you have friends with kids or if you want to grab a cocktail and look cool af lol.
- Zinc Cafe – Love their dining area! It’s got a whimsical vibe to it. Go towards closing to get half off food from the market place.
- Pho 87 – My favorite Pho spot in downtown. No frills and laid back. I order pho w/ bbq beef on the side. Celebrity sightings and delicious pho can be found here. Cash only.
- Shin Sen Gumi – Love everything so it depends on my mood.
- Maragume Monzo – Duck Naban, Beef, Miso Carbonara
- Daikokuya – Love everything so it depends on my mood.
- Hakata Ikkousha Ramen – Order fresh garlic with your ramen and gyoza
- Far Bar – I love this spot. It’s located inside an alley way and so low key and it feels so secretive. Drinks and food are whatever but it’s honestly a fun spot to start your night.
- Arts District Brewing Company – I’m not into beer but I go here for my friends who enjoy it. They have a few arcade games to keep everyone occupied.
- Golden Gopher – I go here because it’s straight up quirky. Yes, you will see golden gophers. Fun/casual vibes and non-pretentious people here.
- Perch – Mingle with the wealthy or wanna be wealthy. Pretentious af. Don’t expect a deep convo here lol. This place is fun if you’re looking to dress sharp or engage with that kinda vibe. Weekend lines are nuts but go here if you are looking for a wide variety of superficial people to bring into your life lol.
- The Library Bar – Dark and loungy. Sexy spot if you want to have an intimate conversation.
- Eighty Two – Arcade bar in Little Tokyo! So much fun if you want to have a fun/casual night drinking and playing video games with friends.
- Angel City Brewery – Must stop for beer lovers – it’s community seating. Board games and cornhole available.
- Clifton’s Republic – Bar life on steroids. This spot has different levels with different themes and is a must visit. They offer food but I’ve never eaten there. I love to hit their hidden Tiki Bar! They recently reopened and locals are miffed there is now a $20 cover charge after 9pm.
- Max Karaoke – Private karaoke booths. Not gonna lie, we pretty much end our night here after drinking. This isn’t a luxury karaoke spot, just somewhere to hang out and sing your face off.
PENDING ON MY VISIT LIST
Girl and Goat
Air Food L’Appart
Propoganda Wine Bar
Death & Co – DONE 7/17/22 – Review: Solid drinks, dark location, very difficult to enjoy a conversation. Would recommend if you’re trying to seduce someone because you have no choice but to lean in to hear each other lol.
Hope this list helps! Let me know if you ended up going somewhere and your thoughts. Comment below with any new recs! See you in LA!